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6 Tips to Survive Potty Training Your Toddler

Buy chocolate treats to encourage your child to use the potty. When they refuse to pee or poop on the potty, eat the treats yourself. You deserve a reward for not going insane!
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Nearly two years ago, I decided to try to potty train my oldest daughter, Ginny, who had just turned two. I looked for signs of readiness, and, admittedly, didn't see any. Despite that, I decided to try anyway.

I wasn't successful. At all.

I had hoped that by using cloth diapers, she would be more than ready to use a potty.

I was wrong!

Ginny is a stubborn child who prefers to do things in her own way, at her own time. She decided on her third birthday (literally) to start peeing on the potty. I'm not sure what magically happened on that day, but she started using the potty and got excited every time she succeeded. We were relieved.

Our greatest struggle was getting her to poop on the potty. She always did that at nap time while sleeping. We didn't want her to skip naps just to potty train. Then, I took away Pull Ups for nap time and let her wear underwear. She had no accidents, but still wouldn't use the potty for the messy thing. Instead, she would hide in her closet at night, once her Pull Ups were back on, to do the deed. Needless to say, we were frustrated.

One day, it hit me. I knew how to solve the problem. At least I hoped it would work. Since Ginny was in preschool two days a week, I talked about her friends. I mentioned that Misty and Cherry used the potty for everything. Ginny acted shocked. "They do?" she asked. It seems that once she realized that her friends did both things on the potty, she decided to do it as well. Ever since that day several months ago, she has had no accidents and uses the potty.

Now, I look at my youngest, Grace, who is 2 1/2. I planned to start potty training after the holidays, but I balked. This summer, though, I plan to start potty training with her. I hope she is more ready than her sister was (and she has shown some signs of readiness). I can only hope and dream we are successful.

For those of you going through the same thing, I thought I'd share some tips on surviving potty training with a stubborn-as-hell toddler.


1. Buy a book on potty training. Read it, then burn the damn thing when you realize your child doesn't want to do as suggested.

2. Laugh hysterically at every potty training article that suggests you can do it in three days or less! Yeah, right. (I tried all the steps outlined, FYI... see how well it worked for me?)

3. Invest in carpet cleaner. Lots of it. Better yet, buy a steam cleaner for your house. You are going to need it.

4. Buy chocolate treats to encourage your child to use the potty. When they refuse to pee or poop on the potty, eat the treats yourself. You deserve a reward for not going insane!

5. If you have a friend whose child magically potty trained themselves in a matter of days, avoid any potty training conversation with them. They do not understand the struggle. Then, wish that they will understand with their next child.

6. Wine is your friend! If you are pregnant, like me, then malts or shakes make a nice alternative. You may need one glass a day (or more).

And, most importantly, keep your sense of humor and patience. It will happen, just in their time, not yours.